This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more

50 Untranslatable Words on Love, Life, and Emotion

While some words of love can be translated from one language to another, there are also many untranslatable words that speak to basic human emotions and desires. These untranslatable words range from romantic ideas like that first rush of falling in love (forelsket in Norwegian) to more fundamental emotions like a longing for a lost homeland (hiraeth in Welsh). All over the world, people have created words to express what it’s like to be a person who feels love and other emotions.

definition of cafunédefinition of cafuné

50 Untranslatable Words About Love and Humanity

These 50 words are some of the most moving expressions of love and life truths from around the globe: 

  1. aware (Japanese) - the feeling of bittersweet joy that comes from a moment you know won’t last

  2. arbejdsglæde (Danish) - the feeling of satisfaction and joy that comes from loving your job

  3. cafuné (Portugese) - gently and lovingly stroking someone's hair

  4. cavoli riscaldati (Italian) - an attempt to bring back a romance of the past, literally translated as “reheated cabbage”

  5. commuovere (Italian) - a story that is so moving you find yourself crying

  6. cwtch (Welsh) - embracing someone to make that person feel safe

  7. dor (Romanian) - sadly longing or pining for someone or something

  8. drachenfutter (German) - an apology gift to your lover

  9. duende (Spanish) - the emotional power of great art

  10. fahrvergnügen (German) - the love of driving for its own sake

  11. fargin (Yiddish) - to find true joy in the success of other people

  12. fernweh (German) - the feeling of missing a place you haven’t actually been before

  13. filotimo (Greek) - a friend who is very honorable and deserves respect

  14. forelsket (Norwegian) - the rush experienced when you first begin to fall in love

  15. friluftsliv (Norwegian) - the joy of being outside in nature

  16. gattara (Italian) - a woman who loves cats to the point of devotion

  17. gigil (Filipino) - the desire to squeeze something because it is cute

  18. goya (Urdu) - the complete suspension of disbelief that happens when you hear a great story

  19. házisárkány (Hungarian) - a nagging and unhappy spouse, literally translated as “indoor dragon”

  20. hiraeth (Welsh) - longing for the past or for a lost homeland

  21. hygge (Danish) - the relaxing moment of sharing food and drink with friends

  22. iktsuarpok (Inuit) - the feeling that leads you to look out the window to see if a visitor is coming

  23. kilig (Tagalog) - the feeling of blushing and getting butterflies in your stomach when you see someone

  24. koi no yokan (Japanese) - the sense that you could fall in love with a person you only just met

  25. la douleur exquise (French) - the intense pain that comes from wanting a person who can never be yours

  26. l’esprit de l’escalier (French) - the feeling of realizing the perfect thing to say too late for the situation

  27. litost (Czech) - the suffering you feel when you see something that reminds you of how miserable you are

  28. mamihlapinatapei (Yagan) - a look two people exchange when they want to start something but know they should not

  29. merak (Serbian) - a feeling of pure bliss in simple, daily pleasures

  30. mokita (Kivila) - something that everyone knows is true but no one talks about

  31. naz (Urdu) - the pride of being unconditionally loved

  32. noroke (Japanese) - to brag about a person you love

  33. nunchi (Korean) - the ability to listen carefully to another person and discern his or her mood

  34. odnoliub (Russian) - someone who is capable of only loving one person or one thing at a time

  35. oodal (Tamil) - an exaggerated and put-on anger that goes with a lover’s spat

  36. paasa (Tagalog) - someone who leads another person on, allowing the other person to think they are romantically interested when they are not

  37. pena ajena (Spanish) - the sense of empathy you have for the embarrassment of someone else

  38. razbliuto (Russian) - the feeling you get when you think about a person you used to love but don’t love anymore

  39. rire dans sa barbe (French) - to laugh quietly to yourself about a funny thing that happened in the past

  40. saudade (Portugese) - the feeling of nostalgic longing for a far-away person or place

  41. schadenfreude (German) - pleasure at the discomfort or misfortune of others

  42. torschlusspanik (German) - the fear that you are running out of time to do something important in your life

  43. toska (Russian) - an overwhelming feeling of misery and boredom

  44. voorpret (Dutch) - the feeling of great anticipation about an upcoming pleasant experience

  45. wabi-sabi (Japanese) - the sense that there is beauty in imperfection

  46. waldeinsamkeit (German) - the feeling of being alone in the woods and connected with nature

  47. won (Korean) - reluctance to let go of a belief that isn’t real

  48. ya’aburnee (Arabic) - a statement that you wish to die before someone you love so you don’t have to endure life without that person

  49. yuanfen (Chinese) - a relationship that was fated or pre-determined

  50. yūgen (Japanese) - the sense that there is much sad beauty and mystery in the universe, especially as it relates to the suffering of people

Expressions of Love Around the World

From romantic Italian phrases to Japanese truths about the universe, there’s a lot to learn from the wisdom of other cultures. At heart, people have a lot in common, and some things are true all over the world. In addition to these beautiful untranslatable words, you can learn to say “I love you” in many languages. That way, even if you don’t use one of these untranslatable words, you can express yourself simply and beautifully.

Post a comment